Thursday, March 15, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Kevin Youkilis, 33. Apparently some believe that Michael Lewis coined "Greek God of Walks" (or even worse, that Billy Bean coined it in "his" book Moneyball), but I know that's not right. Anyone know?

On to a bit of good stuff, while I grumble about Chrome freezing multiple times this morning and eventually losing all my open tabs. Granted, there were a lot of open apologies to all the good stuff that I didn't link to.

1. Sarah Binder on judicial nominations and cloture.

2. Inattentiveness. John Sides.

3. Ah, the conspiracy theories about Sandra Fluke, compiled by Sahil Kapur.

4. And Josh Putnam looks at where the GOP race is right now.


  1. As a lifelong Sox fan, I call him the 'Jewish-Romanian God of Walks' but that doesn't have the same ring. I think the moniker came from a minor league announcer, perhaps the PawSox, but I can't be sure.


    I love banging on Obama, but he probably isn't as weak as Carter or Bush I. Carter had the Iran hostage crisis, and Bush ,well, zero personal appeal.

  3. You do know about "recent tabs" down at the bottom right of the New Tab windows page? Also, the history window... chances are you had some delicious treats in those lost tabs...

  4. my friend Tom agrees with Rob. Tom says:
    I think it was coined by someone while he was still in Triple A because he set the record for consecutive At-Bats of being on base. It was like something ridiculous like 100 or something.

  5. The ongoing Fluke case is fascinating, since it sort of points to a reason why liberals sometimes lose (prevailing public sentiment) for winning (e.g. passing the ACA). The triumphalism at that obnoxious boor Rush Limbaugh being laid low is understandable; unfortunately, one doesn't need to scratch too far below the surface of the Fluke story to realize she is an inadequate standard-bearer for liberal ideology.

    Being an ignorant dude, I went on Yahoo! Answers to find out whether Fluke's quoted birth control cost of $3,000/3 years ($83/month) was reasonable. People said, yeah, the pill can cost that much, but there are several methods for procuring it much cheaper. Other ways to achieve Fluke's apparent goal of not getting pregnant cost pennies a time in bulk.

    One doesn't need to be an obnoxious idiot like Rush Limbaugh, thinking Ms. Fluke is a slut or prostitute, to realize that her testimony is utterly unconvincing as policy advocacy. You don't need to feel hostility at all: of course Georgetown University Law Student Sandra Fluke thinks collective action should be applied to the amelioration of Sandra Fluke's unusually expensive contraceptive needs; if you were Sandra Fluke, you'd no doubt feel the same way.

    However, unless you're fully sold on the goodness of collective action, you're going to heavily discount Sandra Fluke's opinion about when collective action should be taken to address the unexplained, somewhat-unusual needs of Sandra Fluke. And you're also not going to voice these opinions, for fear of being tarred as a misogynist like that idiot Limbaugh.

    So the zeitgeist, ostensibly very pro-Fluke, will seem ripe for adding Fluke's contraceptive costs to our health care overhead. But there might be some important things the silent majority isn't saying here...

    1. @CSH: I'm not even going to start in with the awful specter of health care rationing; though there is a lot to say about the roles different kinds of contraceptives can play and why a woman for contraceptive purposes would want the pill (or, more reliable but more expensive yet, an IUD). Let me just note that Fluke wasn't talking about herself at all. She was talking about a friend, who being gay did not fear pregnancy but instead had (even more) urgent medical reasons to take birth control: because it's a form of hormonal therapy, so that given her condition (whatever it was, it was doctor-certified), it could prevent her from losing an ovary. Unfortunately, without affordable access, she lost the ovary. You find a case where an institution has the religious freedom to deny a man coverage knowing that he'll thereby lose a testicle, and we can talk.

    2. According to wikipedia, there were three parts to Fluke's testimony: your observation about the friend's polycystic ovary syndrome was the third. FWIW, I absolutely agree with Fluke on that argument; without getting into the weeds of health care process, it makes no sense at all that the pill wouldn't be multiply-coded to allow her friend to access it for justifiably therapeutic reasons. That's outrageous, but it's a somewhat different conversation than mandated HC coverage of contraception.

      Her second argument was that without reimbursement, women would be forced to go without. I have no special expertise on this topic; however, the Yahoo! Answers threads seemed to suggest that low-cost access is not the crisis Ms. Fluke suggested it is.

      Her first argument was the $3,000/3 years out-of-pocket cost that Fluke wants you and I to cover in our health insurance via higher copays, deductibles, or premia. It was further her view that 40% of the female Georgetown Law Students found the cost burden of their contraception to be onerous.

      What I find particularly striking about the hoopla is: if we lived in a world without said hoopla, if we agreed that we valued collective action but subjected said action to rigorous skepticism, we may indeed decide that we agree with Ms. Fluke that the onerous burden of her contraception is something the rest of us should cover. But I think it almost goes without saying that there'd be a pretty loud argument from the defense about lower-cost alternatives vs. the $83/month bill Ms. Fluke faces or perhaps means-testing such policies to limit their availability to those about to receive gold-plated law degrees.

      In the world we live in, it goes without saying that such counterarguments will more or less go without saying. Which strikes me odd.


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